The PEW Research Center has released its annual comprehensive look at the health of journalism in America, the State of the Media 2012. Key findings and major trends from the study include a lot of information we would have guessed about digital and print revenue, and a few surprises about social media. Here are the highlights:
- Digital continues to dominate audience growth. TV network audiences also grew for the first time in a decade. Newspapers suffered the most, with circulation falling by 4 percent, but digital audience growing (though digital revenue is growing “painfully slow”).
- Overall online advertising over all increased 23 percent in 2011, but tech companies account for about 68 percent of that, rather than newspapers.
- There was huge growth of audio consumption while in the car. Not necessarily via AM/FM radio, but through mobile devices. As many as 38 percent of Americans now listen to audio on digital devices each week — a number expected to double by 2015.
- Mobile may be leading to a “deeper” news consumption experience. Consumers are reading “more immersively” on devices than they did with the desktop version of sites and going directly to the brands for news, rather than landing there serendipitously through search or social recommendations.
- Search now dominates the mobile ad space formerly dominated by text message advertising. According to PEW: “News companies are essentially cut off from this growing revenue stream, which amounted to $653 million, or 45% of the mobile ad market.”
- Many Americans own more than one mobile device: 52 percent of laptop owners also own a smartphone; 23 percent of laptop owners also own a tablet; 23 percent of smartphone owners also own a tablet; 13 percent own all three.
- Social media are not huge a driver to news. According to a survey in the study, only 10 percent of digital news consumers click through social media recommendations “very often.”
- 100 or more news outlets are expected to move to digital subscriptions “as a matter of survival.” They will join the 150 publications who have already moved to this model.
- The impact of privacy concerns is uncertain. It’s a fine balance between maintaining trust with your community and being able to serve targeted ads for advertisers.
- Community news is most successful when it starts with multiple revenue streams. What this means for startup-like venture is that traditional journalists who found these sites need to have more business training.
Read the full study at stateofthemedia.org.
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